Budowsky: Did Putin elect Trump?

Budowsky: Did Putin elect Trump?
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As The Hill, CNN and other news organizations reported last week, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are calling on President Obama to declassify information about covert Russian attempts to influence the American elections that the Obama administration continues to keep secret, in my opinion unconscionably.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenInterior gains new watchdog On The Money: NY prosecutors subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns | Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms | Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum | Trump faces dwindling leverage with China Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (Ore.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCalifornia Law to rebuild middle class shows need for congressional action Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Top Democrat demands answers from CBP on security of biometric data MORE (Va.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE (Md.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (N.M.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senators introduce bill to block Trump 'public charge' rule Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator MORE (Hawaii) and Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedIs the Senate ready to protect American interests in space? Trump moving forward to divert .6B from military projects for border wall GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped MORE (R.I.), and Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year MORE (I-Maine).

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Similarly, this week a group of House Democrats, led by House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), wrote to President Obama calling on the administration to provide a full classified briefing to Congress detailing the extent of Russian interference in the American elections.

Signees of this letter include House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers  Jr. (Mich.), Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (N.Y.), Homeland Security Committee ranking member Bennie Thompson (Miss.), Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.), Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithIran talks unlikely despite window of opportunity GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped Warren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback MORE (Wash.) and Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Schiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (Calif.).

It is a sad day for America when leading Democratic members of the Senate and House have no recourse except calling on a Democratic president to disclose information about illegal actions, by a hostile foreign power, to corrupt American democracy and influence the election of our commander in chief.

Words cannot fully express my disagreement with President Obama and his White House staff about the way they have failed to effectively combat Russian espionage against American democracy, from the moment it began until today.  Every American should be outraged and angry that ANY foreign power could have ANY influence on the election of our leaders.

Russian espionage, covert action, cyberwar, infowar and the spreading of fake news are not limited to America. These Kremlin attacks against democracy, which could only have been ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, continue to be aggressively pursued against American allies throughout Europe.

Until leaders of Western democracies take a firm stand with a Churchillian resolve that they are not demonstrating today, the Kremlin will escalate support for far right, pro-Putin parties that are achieving gains across Europe that threaten allied unity, democracy and NATO.

Did Putin and Kremlin-managed operatives elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE as America’s commander in chief by successful espionage that the Obama administration failed to effectively combat? I believe the answer is yes.

While there are various reasons Trump won, whether or not it is ultimately proven that Russia hacked voting on election day, our intelligence and counter-intelligence officials have no doubt that Russia was behind aggressive and sustained cyberattacks against the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Russian hacking, leaking and dissemination of negative information and fake news attacking only Democrats and Clinton, not Republicans or Trump, created a daily deluge of negative news that saturated all media and plagued Clinton for many months.

Had this Kremlin assault against American democracy not occurred, or had it been successfully counteracted by Obama and stopped long ago, the extreme damage it did to Clinton would never have happened. She almost certainly would have won an electoral vote majority in addition to her popular vote lead of some 2.5 million votes.

It is astonishing and unacceptable that while leading House and Senate Democrats plead with the president to tell Congress and the American people still-secret truths about Kremlin attacks against our democracy, his administration still has not publicly acknowledged the obvious — that covert Russian attacks only against a Democratic nominee and Democratic organizations were intended to elect the Republican nominee.

I would urge Democrats to support president-elect Trump’s nomination of retired Marine Corps general James Mattis, a staunch defender of democracy, supporter of NATO and opponent of torture, to be secretary of Defense.

Patriotic Americans, no matter which candidate they favored for president, should demand that President Obama disclose the full truth about Russian attacks against American democracy.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.